Chapter One: 8,765 km

Part One: The Journey

The toughest decision to make: what to pack and bring to Tainan, Taiwan? The first thing I did was check the weather, to which I was surprised to realise the beginning of winter in Tainan is like summer in NZ, sunny and reaching highs of 25°C. Naturally, I packed with that in mind.

The last time I had been on a plane was in 2018, before the pandemic, and so it felt both familiar and foreign, rather surreal, going through the airport, checking in, and boarding the flight. The flight in itself was not my favourite. I had snagged an aisle seat, which I was very happy about, and there was WIFI on the airplane which was pretty cool. But unfortunately, I had a bit of a headache and sore stomach, which made the 11.5-hour flight and the following approximately 4hr bus ride not the most comfortable. — Pro tip: make sure to have some Panadol in your carry-on luggage. — But finally, at midnight, and after being on the road for 24 hours, we finally arrived and I was somewhat 8,765km away from Auckland.

Me taking pictures (Credit: Hine)

Part Two: The Destination

The first thing that hit me when we disembarked the plane was the heat. I was very thankful I had packed for the warmth, because the first few days were very sunny and hot. However, in hindsight, I should’ve perhaps brought an extra pair of pants. Whilst Tainan is still overall warmer, there are some colder evenings, and after a week, there was a sudden dip in temperatures to the low 10s. Additionally, I had completely overlooked mosquitoes. Perhaps I am just too sweet for the insects, for my legs are now peppered in bites – not fun, do NOT recommend. I had to invest in some mosquito repellent, which hopefully will help.

We had some time before our programme officially started to explore the city. The food in Tainan is a lot cheaper than NZ, which I expected, but sometimes the difference still makes you think ‘wow’. For only $3.33 I had a filling meal with rice, meat, half an egg, vegetables, and free soup! Eating out in NZ for this price? Highly unlikely. The unique thing about Tainan is it has a lot of temples, old architecture and historical buildings, which is reflective of the history. I love seeing all the cute little shops around each corner, and I have to remind myself to stop taking so many photos. We also visited a night market, something I definitely recommend!

My highest day step count is 26,487, so much walking!


Stay tuned for part three!

Some Food Photos! Featuring Danzai noodles, a specialty of Tainan, and another must-have snack, shrimp rolls.

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